2021 AMA 250SX East Region Supercross Champion Colt Nichols is speaking to how he collected the biggest accolade of his racing career last May in Salt Lake City, Utah: “It definitely wasn’t the path that I thought I was going to do, but it was the path that was meant for me.”
After five years touring basketball and hockey arenas the world over without a factory-supported ride, it all came right for the Monster Energy/Star Yamaha Racing racer in 2021 when he scored three main event victories and wound up on the podium at every East Region round.
Now, the 2022 Monster Energy Supercross Series is a month away from flipping on the lights at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, California.
Q: How does it feel to be a champion? You went into the off-season as a champion, and I know you had some time to think about some things.
COLT NICHOLS: Yeah, it’s a different kind of thing. It made it seem a little different for me. I changed a lot of things in my program this year because I want that feeling so bad again. I’m doing things that I feel are going to help me get to that next level again. It has all felt really good. I just had this insane feeling of making sure I wasn’t being complacent with anything. I just want to keep striving, and trying to get better as a rider and as a racer. As an athlete, I wanted to try and build my fitness up a little better.
Honestly, it’s a really cool feeling, because you have that sense of accomplishment, but it is also it is one of the craziest motivating feelings as well, because you want to try and back it up and do it again. It’s been really cool. There is definitely a level of confidence and accomplishment that is there with me now, but the overall and overwhelming feeling of wanting to do it again has been pretty huge for me this off-season.
Q: As they say, nothing worth having comes easy…
CN: It definitely was a battle, for sure. And just like anybody else, we all have our own sack of rocks to carry, and we have things that we think are a little more extreme than the other person. However in reality, we all have our ups and downs, and our trails and tribulations, to get to where we want to go.
For a long time, I was almost kind of bitter about the journey I had to take, just because it wasn’t what I wanted at first. I didn’t come out of the amateurs with a factory ride. I had to finesse my way around, and figure out how to get to that point. That definitely wasn’t the path to a championship that I thought it was going to be, but it was the one that was meant to be for me. It happened the way it was supposed to. I was able to mature, and understand the process and what I was doing and how important it was. I wasn’t taking any of that stuff for granted. I wouldn’t change anything. It was definitely stressful at times, but overall it the path that was meant for me.
Q: When you take a look back at both the 2021 250SX East Region Supercross season, as well as the 2021 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, what’s your take on those two title chase efforts?
CN: 2021 was definitely great steps in the right direction for the supercross portion of the year. We had a really great indoor portion of the year, but then when we came to outdoor series, I definitely struggled more than I wanted to and was kind of left leaving a few of the races with my hands in the air and kind of just dumbfounded. It was almost like, “I don’t know what I’m doing…” It was frustrating towards the end of the summer, for sure. I felt like I never could really get on my feet. That’s why I’m going to do some things a little different this year, and during this off-season and I’m hoping that helps in 2022.
Q: As far as the approaching 2022 supercross season goes, do you have a preference between competing in the 250SX East or West regions?
CN: Not necessarily. Obviously, I won the East Region, but I don’t really care. I’ve had a lot of good years racing West Coast, and I’ve had some good years racing East Coast, too. I don’t necessarily have a preference. I’m excited for both.
Q: What have you been working on during this off-season? I know you don’t want to divulge too much, but in general, what have you chipping away at?
CN: There are so many areas where I felt like I could have been a little better last year. I did a lot of things really well, but there are obviously always things that you can do better both as s a rider and as a racer. I knew what those areas were, but once the season gets going you’re kind of stuck. You don’t really have that time to try and improve and do things you really want to do. For me, I knew what those areas were so when the off-season came I said, “Hey, these are areas where I struggle and where I want to be a little better.”
I have a new trainer this year, and I have a new mechanic, and we moved to Florida. There are just a lot of things that are different about my program this year as opposed to last year. Overall, man, we are just trying to be better and trying to sharpen our tools as much as we can before it’s time to go race.
Q: And this Monster Energy/Star Yamaha racing organization has become so comprehensive, hasn’t it?
CN: Yeah, we are pretty wide open and the team is still kind of getting everything going. Even here at the facility at the Goat Farm here in Florida, there still working on getting the building built. Everything has been a little slow in just getting materials to build buildings, but it is coming together really nicely. Even now, our big race shop looks incredible, and it has been cool to test and being able to do all of that right on site instead of having to go back to the workshop and tear a fork down and then have to come back the next day.
There have been some huge advantages about being in Florida, and I’ve kind of fallen in love with the place. It’s just been really cool. We’ve got a good group of guys from the 450 side all the way to the amateur side. There are a lot of us, and I know all of the guys work really hard, and that’s just a big shout-out to the team, because they keep us all moving and it works. A huge shout-out to those guys. They’ve got it going on.
Q: What do you want to achieve in 2022?
CN: My biggest goal for 2022 is strictly just winning. I want to win, and to try and really show my full potential, and not feel like I have to question any part of my program, or anything at all. I want to go win, and I also want to enjoy the process. Mainly, though, I’m just really focused on trying to win and taking that momentum into the summer and trying to do the same thing there. Really, last year was a very lackluster summer for me, so I want to come out swinging in the outdoors, and try to be a contender indoors and outdoors, and end my time in the 250cc class with a bang.